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[books|process] Pratchett’s Small Gods

After an enormous amount of galley reading (Green) and critical reading (Demonhead) this weekend, I just couldn’t face Herman Melville again, so I gave myself a cookie with my nth re-reading of Terry Pratchett’s Small Gods.

Pratchett is one of those rare writers who turns off my Producer brain and taps directly into the Consumer vein. Which is to say, most media I consume hits the internal editor and is processed thereby. This is largely a good thing, I believe, as it is related to my critical thinking skills, professional development, etc. Pratchett can take me back to the sensawunda which kept twelve-year-old me hiding in the bookstacks to devour Andre Norton or a Heinlein juvenile because I wasn’t allowed to check out as many books as I could read in a weekend.

A funny thing happened on the way to the literary afterglow, though. Small Gods was the first Discworld book I read. In many ways, it remains my favorite, though The Truth has it in a photo finish, and likewise The Wee Free Men. This time I was noticing the scaffolding of craft which drives Small Gods, and I mean that in a good way.

Brutha has one of the most amazing character arcs I’ve ever seen in fiction. Regardless of what you think of Pratchett, fantasy or humor in genre, this book is worth reading for the sake of studying what Pratchett does with Brutha’s transformation, and how he does it. Plus, if you’re not hip to Discworld, this is one of the best entrees into that continuity, as it’s more-or-less a standalone work.

What books (genre or otherwise) do you like for demonstrating character arc and development?

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